"You, therefore, beloved . . . beware lest you fall from your own steadfastness, being led away by the error of the wicked" (2 Peter 3:17, NKJV).
There is an alarming tendency to "fall away from your own steadfastness," which is to say, the steadfastness of a moment-by-moment believing God. And since to believe and to love are all that God requires of us (1 John 3:23), this is very serious; it is everything.
There is something particularly insidious about this "fall"---or "drift"---(Hebrews 2:1) in that it is imperceptible. One continues to speak of oneself as having "faith" long after the practice of it is absent. It becomes little more than a religious designation. One Christian woman I know texted an epiphany: "I have never really believed God! I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I actually trusted God."
Some of us have taught Sunday school or spoken at retreats and not experienced the reality of a life that flows with ceaseless trusting and obedience to God. Not even half the time. And we have not been aware of it. What a convoluted thing is the human mind.
Peter is quite right that the "fall from your own steadfastness" is abetted by bad theology, "the error of wicked men." Most of these men are not straight-up "wicked," but the germ of error in their theology is; a ship that begins off course by 1 degree will be many miles wide of the mark by the end.
What is the "error"? It is a slightly skewed view of grace that encourages passivity and discourages a striving for greater faith, since all striving---or any muscular "steadfastness"---is suspected of being works righteousness. Never mind that God says to "grow in grace" (2 Peter 3:18).
There is a "holding on" that must be part of the Christian's everyday life (Hebrews 3:6,14). "Steadfastness" is not the staunch maintaining of a theological position but something much more personal and difficult: It is fighting for your very life, using every weapon listed in Ephesians 6. These articles of armor were not meant to be admired on a shelf but scuffed up in battle.
I wish I could say the battles involved noble campaigns against Gnosticism and Liberalism, but they are more typically wrestlings with coveting your neighbor's talents or his new car.
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